Solar set to help Gloucestershire firm escape potential £500,000 energy bill

A Gloucestershire garden centre and popular restaurant facing a potential five-fold increase in energy bills to £500,000 a year is one of an increasing number of firms hoping to find an antidote to the financial pain in solar power.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published

Highfield Garden World, a popular Gloucestershire garden centre and restaurant, has teamed up with a county-based energy expert to help protect against a potential rise in its fuel bills from £100,000 to half a million pounds a year.

With energy prises increasing, Highfield Garden World called on the services of Highnam-headquartered consultancy Severn Wye Energy Agency to consider its options, and the result is a £300,000 investment in 875 solar panels.

Tim Armstrong, a director at the Whitminster-based family garden centre and restaurant, said: ‘With the energy market as it is, we decided to fast-track our planned solar panel project and minimise our dependence on the national grid as quickly as we could.

‘Looking at the average sunshine hours in a year, our roof space is projected to generate around half of our total electricity requirement. That’s a significant saving for us, and it’s also the equivalent of planting 3,123 trees, so good news for the environment too.’

Armstrong said the business, which now employs 97 staff, would save an estimated £250,000 a year in energy bills, as well as underline the firm's green credentials, and he expected the investment to pay for itself within 18 months.

Worcester firm 2020 Solar PV managed the entire solar panel installation.

Highfield Garden Centre is not the only county business to feel the time is right to invest heavily in solar, with Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park and Gloucestershire College both unveiling their own schemes recently.

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